Blessing House Ministry opens April 4 in Taylorsville

TAYLORSVILLE — Three days before her death from cancer in January, Pam Walker lay in her hospital bed sending cards to others who were sick or hurting.

“She always was thinking of others,” said husband John Walker. “She was a very giving person and very, very generous.”

That concern for everyone else, especially the struggling, is part of the impetus behind the April 4 launch of the nonprofit Blessing House Ministry’s self-serve food pantry, the first such outreach in this small community in Bartholomew County featuring several other such outlets called blessing boxes.

In fact, for nearly two years, the Walkers have been strong and regular donors of food to the First Christian Church blessing box, an outdoor food cabinet in front of its youth center at 541 Fourth St. in downtown Columbus.

They frequently would donate a mix of food, then head across the street to Dairy Queen for lunch.

“Within the half-hour that we would be stopped and eating, there would be 10 to 15 people come there (to the box),” Walker said.

So they knew, just as local food pantry leaders at Love Chapel, Salvation Army and the Community Center of Hope have frequently said since the COVID-19 pandemic surfaced, that the need for food and groceries for area residents was rising.

Kelly Daugherty, executive director of Love Chapel, the largest local food pantry supported by the Ecumenical Assembly of Bartholomew County Churches, has long been supportive of other food assistance locally, ranging from the blessing boxes to Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana trucks coming from Indianapolis to help local residents.

“We just really felt led by God to do this (one),” said Walker, who lives on Friendship Drive in Taylorsville. “I’m continuing Pam’s legacy of giving as I move forward with this full strength.”

Blessing boxes and the Walkers’ five-shelf installment planned in the front of the German Township Volunteer Fire Department at 9428 Main St. in Taylorsville work simply: People are free to take whatever food they need from them, free of charge, or to donate whatever food they wish to help others. Besides First Christian’s, another blessing box sits nearby at the Bartholomew County Public Library, 536 Fifth St., downtown.

The Walkers, members of The Sanctuary church in Columbus, planned this location for some time. They received their nonprofit status in only a matter of weeks.

The ministry website at blessinghouseministry.org/donate allows others to easily give to the cause.

“I just want to be able to get the word out so people are aware of it before we open its doors,” Walker said, mentioning that he has been to local radio stations as well.